Les Miserables review – this is not a musical

4.5

Summary

This is an excellent, important piece of cinema that I know many of you out there would enjoy. If you get the chance, go have a look and let me know what your thoughts were.

This is not a musical.

At theatres in the UK just now, this is a powerful and yet endearing film, that follows the struggles of the ethnic communities in Montfermeil and the police corruption that follows them.

The film premiered last year at Cannes, and won The Jury Prize, and also received an Oscar for Best International Feature Film.

Things kick off after the 2018 World Cup, and we follow the story mainly through the eyes of police officer Stephane Ruiz, who joins Squad Captain Chris and right hand man Gwada as they patrol the mean streets of Montfermeil.

However it becomes clear early on that Chris has his own way of keeping control of the diverse population, and it probably isn’t the way things should be getting done.

Ruiz observes with obvious contempt, and events unfold leading to the worst first day at work, ever.

Young delinquent Issa manages to steal a lion cub from a visiting circus that leads to a vicious cycle of events that converge on each other into a nail biting and gripping third act that draws all the story threads together in what can only be described as a story telling masterpiece.

Director Ladj Ly delivers an incredibly powerful, often hypnotic film, that has several plot threads intertwining with each other. the risk of using such a device can sometimes lead to viewers losing the track of the narrative, but not in this case.

We are introduced to the cast of characters and given enough time to get to know them before moving on. The run time of 103 minutes is justified, and the pacing is pretty much on the nose, with the exception of what feels like a false ending before the final act.

I would hate to spoil this film for anyone going to see it, so if you are thinking of going stop reading now, because my only real gripe with the film is the ending, that probably delivered what the director wanted, but, in my opinion, I think I may have preferred a more conventional finale. I often don’t mind an open ended , and open to interpretation style of conclusion, but I was so invested in the story I felt a more satisfactory final scene would have made for a better denouement .

Apparently the film is based on real events, and it seems that after it’s release, authorities made a concrete effort to address some of the issues raised in  the screenplay. Who said art can’t influence life?

The title of the film refers to the 1862 Victor Hugo novel, written and partially set in Montfermeil, but rest assured, there is no musical numbers inserted here.

With Tenet being released to kick start the cinema going experience, it is a shame that Les Miserables may go under the radar. This is an excellent important piece of cinema that I know many of you out there would enjoy. If you get the chance,   go have a look and let me know what your thoughts were.

4.5 – 5

Louie Fecou

Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk.  He currently runs his own business in between watching films.

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